Spanish authorities said they were investigating what they called a possible “terrorist” incident after a man wielding a machete attacked several people outside two churches in the southern port city of Algeciras, killing at least one person.
The man attacked clergy at two different churches — San Isidro and Nuestra Senora de La Palma, about 300 meters (1,000 feet) apart — just after 8 p.m. Wednesday night in central Algeciras, a spokesman for the city said. A source at Madrid’s Supreme Court said the incident is being investigated as terrorism.
Police said the attacker had been arrested, and a police source shared footage of two officers escorting a man in a hooded sports top and handcuffs through a police station. Police have not released any details about his name or nationality. According to local media, including the newspaper El Pais, it concerns a 25-year-old Moroccan.
The man killed was Diego Valencia, a sexton at the Nuestra Senora de La Palma church, while the titular priest of the parish church of San Isidro, Antonio Rodriguez, was among those injured and is in serious condition, the spokesman for the ministry said. city of Algeciras. .
An unknown number of others were also injured. El Mundo newspaper reported that four people were injured in the attack.
Police said the suspect entered San Isidro Church first and attacked Rodriguez. A statement from the Salesians of Algeciras said Rodriguez, 74, was celebrating the Eucharist when he was attacked.
The attacker then entered Nuestra Senora de La Palma church where he damaged property before attacking Valencia, who fled the church but was chased by the suspect, who inflicted further fatal injuries outside, police said in a statement.
The pastor of Nuestra Senora de La Palma, Juan Jose Marina, told broadcaster SER that the suspect went straight to Valencia after the mass, suggesting he may have thought Valencia was the priest.
“Maybe this death was meant for me and he found it instead,” said a tearful Marina.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez sent his condolences to the victims of the “terrible attack” on his Twitter account, while Secretary General of Spain’s Episcopal Conference, Francisco Garcia, spoke of his “great pain” upon hearing the news.
“These are sad times of suffering, we are united by the pain of the families of the victims and for the diocese of Cadiz,” he said on Twitter.
Jose Ignacio Landaluce, the mayor of Algeciras, declared a day of mourning in the city on Thursday and a rally outside the Nuestra Senora de La Palma church at noon.
Earlier on Wednesday, two people were killed and several others injured when a 33-year-old stateless Palestinian man attacked them with a knife on a regional train between Kiel and Hamburg in northern Germany, authorities said.